Belle Chasse and East Jefferson were in a defensive battle that was tied early in the third quarter.
That’s when Caylin Parker took matters into his own hands. Parker broke lose for an 85-yard run, stiff-arming a helpless defender to the turf in the process, in keying Belle Chasse’s 20-7 victory Friday night at Yenni Stadium.
“Coach (Stephen Meyer) always preaches 4 yards, 4 yards, just keep pounding,” said Parker, who gained 161 yards and scored two touchdowns on 13 carries. “You keep doing that, and you’ll break one.”
Said East Jefferson coach Marc Martin: “We had a chance to get the ball inside the 20 and score the go-ahead touchdown. (Parker’s run) broke the game open, especially after what happened before that.”
With the score 7-7, and Belle Chasse (2-0) with the ball at the 31-yard line, running back Trey Green fumbled. East Jefferson (1-1) had three opportunities to recover it. The Warriors didn’t. Parker’s run came on the next play.
“That was big,” Meyer said. “Thank God. He made a heck of a run, had good blocking. But he’s a heck of a player on both sides of the ball.”
The Cardinals received another big break that sealed the road victory. Midway through the fourth quarter Tyler Andrews’ punt bounced off of East Jefferson’s Rashaad Johnson, who was trying to get away from the ball. A host of Cardinals recovered at the 18.
On the next play, Green started right, ran into a blocker, then cut up the middle for a touchdown.
In a game between two teams who use option offenses, Belle Chasse held East Jefferson to 69 yards and just five first downs. The Cardinals, however, racked up 270 yards rushing and 13 first downs.
“They were bigger and more physical,” Martin said.
He talked to his team after the game about growing up and being more focused and intense. Offensively, the Warriors simply had problems executing, including basics such as the option pitch. That limited what they could do.
“We could tell what play they were going to run by the way they shifted,” said Parker, who also played middle linebacker. “We were well prepared.”
For a while, it appeared the teams were on equal footing. Parker staked Belle Chasse to a 7-0 lead with a 28-yard touchdown run at 9:34 of the first quarter. However, East Jefferson tied the score on a 6-yard run by fullback Zack Wiedow at 8:09 of the second quarter.
“We stayed within ourselves and played as a team — defense, offense, special teams,” said Meyer, who is in his second year at Belle Chasse. “It was two teams who run the ball, it’s a quick game, you don’t get many possessions. We capitalized when we got a chance.”